Best Point-and-Shoot Cameras 2018: 7 Great Alternatives To Bulky DSLRs

In this camera buying guide, we’ll look at the best point-and-shoot cameras to buy in 2018.

best-comact-cameras-2018

As you may already know, point-and-shoot cameras (also known as compact cameras), are designed primarily for simple operation.

At the dawn of the advent of compact digital cameras, the main criterion of choice was the number of megapixels, but since that time the technology has moved far ahead. The size of the matrix has long ceased to be the defining parameter.

The cameras have become much smarter, more qualitative, and are categorized into classes. For example, if the camera dimensions are critical to you, pay attention to ultra-thin digital cameras.

Premium-segment models will suit connoisseurs of quality pictures: advanced digital cameras are often acquired by professional photographers for traveling to replace their bulky DSLRs.

But regardless of the level of knowledge in the photosphere, when choosing a camera, one should not blindly trust the technical description on its company’s website. Even the famous manufacturers such as Nikon, Canon, Sony have more and less successful compact digital cameras.

In order not to regret your money spent, before the purchase, do some research of independent ratings of the best compact digital cameras.


Now, just as with the best Canon cameras post, before I go into details, I wanted to categorize the cameras to make it easier for me and for you. 

Within the post, I will also provide my personal rating of each. (Whether you agree with my “grading” or not, feel free to let me know in the comments!)

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Best Affordable Compact Cameras

Best Compact Cameras: Price-Quality Ratio

Best Advanced Digital Cameras

 

Now, let’s get into the details of each camera. 

As usual, I will also include video-reviews from YouTube to enhance your knowledge of each product.


Best Affordable Compact Cameras

Compact cameras are good for simplicity and their small size.

They do not attract attention, do not take up much space and they are ideal for travel.

Manufacturers have endowed them with impressive technical characteristics, but the quality of the images will only satisfy unpretentious photographers. Professionals, on the other hand, will sigh about the noise, misses and slowness of autofocus.

Let’s have a look at the first compact camera with ultra-zoom lens.

Canon PowerShot SX410 IS

best-compact-digital-cameras-2018

Key Features:

  • Type: Compact camera
  • Weight: 325 g
  • Sensor: CCD
  • Lens: Canon Zoom Lens 40x IS
  • ISO sensitivity: Auto, 100-1600
  • Category: Best Affordable Compact Cameras
  • Subcategory: Best Optical Zoom
  • My Rating: 4.6/5

This 2015 camera model quickly broke into the leaders of the rating as being the best among 40x optical zoom cameras under $500.

The resolution of the pictures in this model has grown to 20 megapixels that with such a small sensor played a dual role.

On one hand, the photos are very amenable to scaling, which undoubtedly will appeal to the amateurs looking at the small details; on the other hand, the high pixel density increases the number of noises and artifacts in poor lighting, but what’s good is that it increases the zoom of the lens by 30 to 40x.

A slight decrease in the aperture at a focal length of 960 millimeters did not affect the quality of the photograph. 

Now the camera has become even more versatile from a great distance, you can shoot close-up wild birds, animals, various attractions and other objects to which there is no way to get closer physically

Remote objects are not the only thing that this camera can do. 

best-compact-cameras-2018With the minimum focus of 24 millimeters you can easily shoot landscapes, architecture and a large company of friends.

There is also an Auto Live mode, which will make it easier for amateurs to understand the camera. 

You can change some shooting parameters of brightness, color balance and saturation, and in the digital filters mode, you can choose 6 different effects in case you want to experiment with the story.

The Canon PowerShot SX 410 IS buyers will be pleased with the image stabilization system and its tenacious and fast autofocus. The camera confidently focuses on close objects and is good for creative experiments with macro photography. 

However, the aperture is not super great (diaphragm F3.4 – F6.3). Keep in mind that despite the rather powerful processor, the model is absolutely unsuitable for sports fans: the shooting rate is inexcusably low and is only 0.5 frames per second.

Once again, with the range of focal lengths from 24 to 960 millimeters it will allow shooting in close quarters and practice taking images of the moon and birds. 

You can’t count on having high quality images, but PowerShot SX 410 IS is definitely suitable for everyday use.

Below I am attaching an honest video review of the camera made by Handy Andy:

Final Thoughts

Canon PowerShot SX410 IS is an excellent example of a combination of simple controls and powerful zoom.

A beginner photographer doesn’t have to overpay for a bunch of unnecessary features, at the same time he will not feel deprived of those.

Of course, due to a rather weak battery, this camera will not be the best choice for long travels, but thanks to its light and compact body it is great for short trips and daily walks.

Click on the button below to take a closer look at Canon PowerShot SX410 IS.


Best Affordable Compact Cameras

best-point-and-shoot-cameras-2018Canon Powershot ELPH 300 HS (IXUS 220 HS)

Key Features:

  • Type: Ultra-compact camera
  • Weight: 141 g
  • Sensor: BSI-CMOS
  • Lens: Canon Zoom Lens 5x IS
  • ISO sensitivity: Auto, ISO 100-3200
  • Category: Best Affordable Compact Cameras
  • Subcategory: Best quality and speed of shooting at an affordable price. The most popular budget camera.
  • My Rating: 4.8/5

Canon Powershot ELPH 300 HS (also known as Canon IXUS 220 HS outside the US) is an ultra-compact camera of the stylish IXUS line.

Its main features are the following: a 12-megapixel backside illumination CMOS sensor, a lens with a compact for a compact wide angle (5x the zoom range of 24-120 eq. mm), optical image stabilization, a 2.7-inch monitor, a continuous shooting at the level of a SLR camera, which is 3.4 frames per second, video shooting in Full HD 1080p format with stereo sound, as well as HDMI output.

As I said, Canon ELPH 300 HS uses a back-side illuminated sensor.

What’s the big deal about it?

See, in “ordinary” matrices, the elements of the electronic circuit are located between microlenses and photosensitive elements, which in part prevents the passage of light.

In matrices with backside illumination, which have only recently been used in digital cameras, the elements that do not participate in the collection of light are transferred to the rear side of the semiconductor structure.

As a result, the absorption efficiency of the incident light has increased significantly, which is especially true in low light conditions – the image is less noisy at high ISO values.

best-point-and-shoot-cameras-2018

In addition, the new type of sensor provides a faster readout of information, which, in the case of the Canon ELPH 300 HS, has achieved a high speed of continuous shooting – 3.4 frames per second at full frame resolution.

Canon ELPH 300 HS is a typical representative of the compact IXUS camera line, traditionally positioned as stylish models, primarily designed for problem-free shooting in auto modes.

However, in comparison with many IXUSs, this device is relatively inexpensive – probably, not least due to the manufacturers’ refusal to use spectacular, to pretentiousness, elements in the decoration, which we often see in the more expensive IXUS models.

In this case, the device looks quite serious and practical – preserving, however, a certain charm and elegance.

Below I am attaching a great video review by YouTube vlogger “Soldier Knows Best”:

Final Thoughts

A fairly elegant, easy-to-operate, functionally balanced device, which even gives out quite great quality pictures. Great for a full-time use in everyday life.

Canon Powershot ELPH 300 HS (IXUS 220 HS) is an excellent version of the compact, “which is always with you”.

Click on the button below to take a closer look at Canon PowerShot ELPH 300 HS.

 


Best Compact Cameras: Price-Quality Ratio

best-point-and-shoot-cameras-2018

Fujifilm X30

Key Features:

  • Type: Compact camera
  • Weight: 423 g
  • Sensor: CMOS
  • ISO sensitivity: Auto, 100-12800
  • Category: Best Compact Cameras: Price-Quality Ratio
  • Subcategory: Electronic viewfinder. Hybrid autofocus
  • My Rating: 4.6/5

Fujifilm X30 came to replace the successful and popular X20.

Externally, these models are similar, the lens remained the same, as well as the mechanical principle of zoom, but many of the camera components underwent important changes and improvements.

The first and main improvements to mention is that the viewfinder from the Fujifilm X30 is electronic. It is large and has a high resolution. As a rule, such viewfinders are placed in more expensive cameras in its line.

I’d say it has perfect interface, with convenient controls, a mechanical zoom, and with clear logic of operation. Even the previous X20 model had these moments in order, and the X30 added a tilting screen, six programmable buttons and a control ring on the lens.

Because the camera can be easily configured, ergonomics have become even better.

Perhaps someone is upset by the abolition of the optical viewfinder, but the EVF of the X30 is very good – large and sharp, the delay in displaying on it is almost not felt.

Like any electronic viewfinder, it has certain advantages over optical – it does not give parallax errors, and it allows you to impose information of any complexity (in a graphic sense) on top of a live image.

best-point-and-shoot-cameras-2018

In terms of functionality Fujifilm X30 in many respects is not inferior to the older models of the X-series, and in some aspects even exceeds them – for example, the speed of the continuous shooting.

At low ISO images are very good, but as the sensitivity increases, aggressive noise cancellation and watercolorization of the picture become more noticeable. Limit values in the ISO range are best avoided, which imposes certain limitations on the shooting in case of a lack of lighting.

Perhaps the only thing that causes light tension is the size of the sensor.

Until recently, the 2/3″ sensor in the compact was certainly large, but we do progress, and therefore more models with a larger matrix – 1″ format and even APS-C – are appearing.

To date, Fujifilm X30 is still quite competitive, especially at low ISO values. However, in the future, apparently, from a flagship-level compact we will expect a larger sensor.

Below you will see a video-review of the camera done by Dmitry from HardwareCanucks:

Final Thoughts

In terms of a set of features, modes and capabilities, the Fujifilm X30 camera is very advanced. It is relatively small, convenient, responsive, and it is pleasant to work with.

An electronic viewfinder of this quality generally does not exist in any other compact model.

Although Fujifilm X30 belongs to the class of compacts, it leaves the impression of being serious and “correct”. To date, this is one of the best compact cameras on the market.

Click on the button below to take a closer look at Fujifilm X30.



Best Compact Cameras: Price-Quality Ratio

best-point-and-shoot-cameras-2018Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-RX 100 II

Key Features:

  • Type: Large sensor compact camera
  • Weight: 281 g
  • Sensor: BSI-CMOS
  • ISO sensitivity: Auto, ISO 160 – 12800
  • Category: Best Compact Cameras: Price-Quality Ratio
  • Subcategory: Optimum price-performance ratio
  • My Rating: 4.9/5

Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 II is a compact camera the size of a little more than a pack of cigarettes.

The body is metal, without any extra decorative elements, which gives it minimalistic and strict design. This has its advantages: the camera does not attract attention, yet it does not look like a cheap point-and-shooter.

I’d say that it’d even be humiliating to call it just a cheap compact camera.

Judge for yourself: a very large for a compact 1″ sensor is installed inside. Of course, it is inferior in size to the sensors of DSLRs, but at the same time it is many times larger than the sensors of most other compacts and especially cell phones.

Basically, a large sensor that allows the photographer to count on high image quality.

Despite the fact that there are as many as 20 million pixels on it, there is enough space in the matrix: even when shooting at high sensitivity, the noise is not noticeable, and the images are sharp.

best-point-and-shoot-cameras-2018

A practical range of focal lengths from 28 to 100 millimeters is suitable for shooting in any scene. The aperture of F1.8 makes it comfortable to work in low light conditions.

People who are used to processing photos will be pleased with the RAW format.

The key differences from the very first model of the series is the improved backside illumination sensor. This allows you to reduce noise at high ISO.

In addition, the camera has a tilting screen, presents Wi-Fi interface with support for NFC, thanks to which it is convenient to share pictures between different devices.

This being said, for pocket-size compact digital camera Cyber-shot DSC-RX 100 II makes excellent images, securing itself the first positions in ratings.

Click below to check out the video-review of the camera:

Final Thoughts

Of course, I would never advise you to abandon a system camera. Where specialized optics are required, the system camera will have a clear advantage.

However, if we are talking about amateur shooting using only a kit lens, then here the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 II is quite capable of making a worthy competition for both DSLRs and mirrorless cameras.

Click on the button below to take a closer look at Sony Cyber-shot RX100 II.


Best Advanced Compact Digital Cameras

Advanced compact cameras are acquired not only by wealthy photography enthusiasts, but also by professionals as an alternative to DSLRs. Their modest dimensions do not attract the attention of passers-by and allow traveling light.

The premium-segment cameras feature high-quality images, clarified optics, the ability to shoot in RAW format and use of manual settings.

For professionals, the crop-factor close to 35 mm will be of huge value.

Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II

best-point-and-shoot-cameras-2018

Key Features:

  • Type: Large sensor compact camera
  • Weight: 553 g
  • Sensor: CMOS
  • Lens: Canon Zoom Lense 5x
  • ISO sensitivity: Auto, 100-12800
  • Category: Best Advanced Digital Cameras
  • Subcategory: Popular advanced camera
  • My Rating: 4.8/5

This camera has been top rated since 2014 and it made our list of the best Canon cameras in 2017.

This is the choice of those who look for a compact digital camera, who appreciate and ready to pay for its quality.

Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II is a compact camera with a high-quality lens and a large 18.7 x 14.0 mm matrix. Thanks to a balanced set of features, this compact is perfectly capable of replacing a SLR camera.

The sensor has a 4:3 aspect ratio, and for the classic 3:2 aspect ratio, the device has the largest sensor among all small cameras and is equipped with an optical zoom lens.

The matrix G1 X II operates at ISO sensitivity values from 100 to 12,800, and the shutter operates in the range of 60 s – 1/4000 sec. The speed of the series is up to 5.2 frames per second.

best-point-and-shoot-cameras-2018Since we mentioned the sensitivity, for ISO 1600, the picture has very good quality, the noise is gentle, and the frequency and balance range is at a good level. At ISO 3200, however, the image degradation is much more severe. Images start to lose details.

In low light scenes, effective image stabilization works well.

It should be noted that the speed of autofocus Canon G1 X Mark II is not fast, although it works quite accurately. In low light, it can happen that the camera focuses in 2-3 seconds.

Attention deserves the screen, or rather, that it is touchscreen.

This greatly facilitates interaction with the camera, as well as when setting the active AF point, and when viewing and magnifying images. When manually setting the focus, click on the option to expand.

Manual focus also facilitates the selection of sharp edges.

I’d say that Canon G1 X mark II is a successful compact camera of premium class.

Below I am attaching a video-review made by Eddie Moon:

Final Thoughts

I think this model will be great for amateur photographers who are not ready to purchase a bulky SLR camera and optics to it.

This is an excellent option for shooting on a trip or even for everyday shooting for both beginners and experienced amateur photographers.

Click on the button below to take a closer look at Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II.



Best Advanced Compact Digital Cameras

best-point-and-shoot-cameras-2018

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX 100

Key Features:

  • Type: Large sensor compact camera
  • Weight: 393 g
  • Sensor: CMOS
  • ISO sensitivity: Auto, ISO 100-25600
  • Category: Best Advanced Digital Cameras
  • Subcategory: Best price. Shooting video in the best resolution 3840 x 2160
  • My Rating: 4.7/5

In the TOP-3 of the best point-and-shoot cameras of the premium segment, the DMC-LX 100 is the most compact.

But its camera size did not prevent to concentrate all modern technologies in a miniature model. Panasonic captures the attention of professional photographers looking for a compact replacement for DSLRs on vacation.

The first thing that catches your eye is the developed manual control, which the manufacturer is betting on. Ergonomics is impressive: most of the settings are made on the body of the camera.

Technical characteristics are worthy of the leaders of the rating.

Acceptable crop factor 2, RAW format support, clarified optics (F1.7 – F2.8), and burst rate of 11 frames per second. The minimum shooting distance is suitable for macro and is only 3 centimeters.

The digital camera is also great for recording video, including 4K resolution.

best-point-and-shoot-cameras-2018Retro fans or old-school photographers will appreciate the form factor of the camera, close to the rangefinder cameras.

A metal shutter-release selector and a lens ring to select the aperture will give an inexpressible sense of connection with the camera during shooting.

In terms of ISO, overall, the LX100 provides good image quality to ISO 1600 inclusive, ISO 3200 can be called acceptable. At ISO 3200 the color noise begins to hide details of objects in the shadows. ISO 6400 and higher are only suitable for shooting in exceptional situations.

It should be said that the lens in the Lumix LX100 is just as good as the compact, fast aperture zoom lens. It does not “tear” up the high-end replacement optics, but overall its high resolution and almost complete absence of aberrations deserve respect.

Nice add-ons include autofocus lights, HDMI and Wi-Fi.

Below is a video of John sharing why Lumix LX100 is still a great camera in 2017:

Final Thoughts

Without a doubt, the Panasonic Lumix DLC-LX 100 is one of the most interesting compact cameras available on the market today.

It has very compact dimensions yet it is equipped with a large sensor, a viewfinder and a high-zoom zoom lens, which makes this camera much more versatile photographic solution than the Fujifilm X100 / X100S / X100T, Nikon Coolpix A , Ricoh GR and other cameras with large sensors and lenses with a fixed focal length.

Click on the button below to take a closer look at Panasonic Lumix DLC-LX 100.



Best Advanced Compact Digital Cameras

best-point-and-shoot-cameras-2018

Leica Q (Typ 116)

Key Features:

  • Type: Large sensor compact camera
  • Weight: 640 g
  • Sensor: CMOS
  • ISO sensitivity: Auto, 100-50000
  • Category: Best Advanced Digital Cameras
  • Subcategory: Best shooting quality. Fixed focal length
  • My Rating: 4.9/5

Leica compact digital cameras traditionally impress with two features.

First is their insane price tag: for that price you’d have enough to buy a set of equipment for professional photography.

Second is its thoughtfulness and manufacturability. And Leica camera Typ 116 is close to perfection. Manual settings, rate of shooting of 10 frames per second, viewfinder with 100% review, touch screen, quiet shutter…

But the quality of images is what makes it the best. 

Despite the compact size, it is full-frame camera. The 26-megapixel sensor is comparable to the electronic filling of professional DSLRs. 

best-point-and-shoot-cameras-2018

The camera is suitable for macro photography – the minimum focusing distance is 17 centimeters. Enlightened optics (F1.7) will help to achieve clear pictures even in low light conditions and brings the camera model to the first place in the rating.

The only thing that can upset the buyers with a bigger budget is a fixed focal length of 28 millimeters. You cannot zoom in/zoom out the objects in the frame, so you’ll have to run around on your feet. 

Users also note a weak battery, but this small issue can solved by purchasing a spare battery.

Video shooting is possible in Full HD resolution at 50/60 frames per second. On the camera body there is a stereo microphone and an HDMI-out, but there are no external devices for recording sound. 

However, Leica does not intend to compete with Canon and Sony in terms of video recording. My guess is that for the target audience, Leica Q video shooting will be a small bonus to the main functionality of the camera.

Below I am attaching Chris Nicholls and Jordan Drake’s excellent video-review of Leica Q:

Final Thoughts

Leica Q is great in all aspects.

It has a nice minimalistic body with metal elements, it shoots perfectly, it is convenient for working in manual mode, it does not take up much space in the bag and, finally, it gives the same sensations from work as Leica M.

I don’t think that the camera can be regarded as a professional photographer’s tool, rather it’s designed for advanced amateur photographers.

I would also recommend Leica Q to desperate travelers, as the camera allows you to shoot in almost any environment.

Click on the button below to take a closer look at Leica Q (Typ 116).


Conclusion: The 7 Best Point-and-Shoot Cameras for 2018

So, we explored 7 best point-and-shoot cameras available for sale in 2018 and I hope this list will help you make an educated buying decision.

So which camera to choose?

I can advise the following.

If you do not plan to invest in the purchase of more advanced gear later, it’s suggested that you check out the aforementioned compact cameras.

However, if in the future you see yourself as a professional photographer, you should take a closer look at compact SLRs presented in this collection.

Today, even under $500 it is quite possible to buy a decent camera!


Have you made your decision? Which camera did you decide to buy?

If you still have doubts about which point-and-shoot camera to buy in 2018, or have questions/comments, let me know in the comment section below!

Best Point-and-Shoot Cameras 2018: 7 Great Alternatives To Bulky DSLRs
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